As a member of the family, we take our pets everywhere! Whether it’s going on a much-needed vacation, driving them to an area park to run and play, or maybe, a quick trip to the veterinarian for a check-up – some furry passengers just love to ride! But traveling in automobiles can be extremely dangerous for your animal companion – and you.
Loose pets inside of vehicles can become a deadly distraction for drivers. Moreover, unrestrained pets can become hazards themselves during an accident. Without proper restraint, a simple joyride with your furry friend could result in harsh consequences for everyone.
Here are a few important tips that will help to keep you, your best friend and others safe and happy on your next trip:
- To avoid unnecessary stress and anxiety, work your pet up to longer trips by taking shorter treks before going on a long expedition.
- Just in case you and your pet become separated, be sure that all ID tags are properly affixed to your pet’s collar and that they have your current contact information, including cell number(s).
- Update your microchip registration and pet license information to ensure its current and consider including the name and phone number of an emergency contact.
- Never leave pets unattended inside of vehicles. Remember that cars heat up fast – even with the windows cracked!
- Properly restrain, contain or crate your pets inside of your vehicle prior to your trip. Consider purchasing a specially designed pet seatbelt, carrier or barrier to avoid irreversible consequences due to distractions or other mishaps.
- Never allow pets to sit on your lap or remain in the front seat while you drive.
- Never allow pets to stick any portion of their bodies out the window. Although most dogs love to stick their heads out open windows, the wind can seriously irritate mucous membranes and blow pieces of grit or other debris into their eyes. Pets could also be seriously injured by objects as you drive down the road.
- Pets should never be transported in the bed of a pickup truck. Not only could your pet injure, or even kill himself/herself – he/she could cause an accident which may harm someone else. In several states this dangerous practice is illegal.
- According to an American Automobile Association (AAA) survey*, more than 80 percent of drivers admit that they recognize the dangers of driving with an unrestrained pet, but only 16 percent use pet restraints:
- An unrestrained 10-pound dog in a 50-mph car crash exerts 500 pounds of force.
- An 80-pound dog in a 30-mph car crash exerts 2,400 pounds of force.
- Just like small children, a dog can be killed by an inflating airbag, even if the dog is restrained.
- Do not leash your pet inside of a truck bed even when parked to avoid strangulation hazards and because open truck beds do not provide any protection from the weather. The hot sun can heat the metal floor of a truck bed enough to burn a pet’s paws. A dog left sitting in the broiling sun without water or shade may suffer from heat stroke.
Keeping pets safe is every pet owner’s responsibility. Being a safe driver is not only your obligation – it’s the law!